July 01, Colombo: A farmers' association in Sri Lanka has called on the Irrigation and Aquatic Resources Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva to apologize to farmers.
The All Ceylon Farmers' Federation says that the Irrigation Minister should not make statements belittling the farmers when the farmers had cultivated their lands following decisions reached at the harvest meeting with the authorities before the commencement of the season.
National Organizer of the Federation, Namal Karunaratne made this comment at meeting in Anuradhapura where members of farmers' association in the North Central Province participated to decide on the measures to be taken to address the crisis faced by the drought stricken farmers in the area.
"The farmers decided to cultivate their lands after the meeting with officials from the Mahaweli, Irrigation Department and the Agriculture Ministry. However, now there's no water and the Irrigation Minister is saying that the farmers cultivated their lands knowing there would be a shortage of water," he said.
Minister de Silva has reportedly said that the government cannot take the responsibility for the drought-stricken paddy lands since the farmers have not followed the instructions provided by the authorities.
He added that the Irrigation Minister should therefore apologize to the farmers and also work towards compensating them for their loss.
According to Karunaratne, the farmers associations have decided to request for compensation for their destroyed paddy lands and for support to cultivate the next season.